Software group plans raids on City pirates

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THE BUSINESS Software Alliance has launched an investigation into several major City institutions, alleging unauthorised copying of software including spreadsheets such as Lotus 1-2-3 and Microsoft Excel, writes Mary Fagan.

Bradford Smith, a spokesman for the BSA, said it was likely to seek a High Court order to raid the suspected firms and seek damages for lost revenues.

The Federation Against Software Theft estimates that Britain's personal computer software industry loses more than pounds 300m year though illicitly-copied products, more than the industry's estimated legitimate sales of pounds 280m.

Last week the two software organisations gained a High Court order to raid Tatung UK, part of the Taiwan-based computer and electronics group. Tatung has agreed to pay compensation, erase the software and buy replacements.

Mr Smith said the Tatung case was particularly galling as it was the first involving a computer company. 'Copying is unacceptable, but especially so in an industry so closely linked to ours,' he said. Tatung said that it tried to prevent illicit copying and was taking steps to prevent it happening again.

Last year, Fast and the BSA received a settlement estimated at pounds 100,000 from Mirror Group Newspapers following an unannounced raid.

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